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Proper insulation is critical to the comfort of your Southwest Florida home, and it can help reduce your energy costs in both the winter and summer. One of the easiest ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home is by adding attic insulation.

attic insulationWhy Attic Insulation Is Important During the Summer

Most people know that attic insulation is critical during the winter to keep the heat inside your home, but it also plays an important role during the summer. As the sun beats down on the surface of your roof, it heats the air in the attic. Because the air in your home is cool, the heat will naturally try to travel from the attic to the interior of your home to reach equilibrium with the indoor air temperature. Attic insulation slows this process down, increasing the efficiency of your cooling system and keeping you comfortable at a reasonable cost.

How Much Insulation Is Necessary

In the Southwest Florida region, the current recommended insulation levels for attics range from R-30 to R-60. The R-Value measures a material’s resistance to the flow of heat, and the higher the value is, the more it prevents heat transfer between the interior and the exterior of a structure.

How to Add Insulation

If your attic is not finished, it’s relatively easy to add more insulation. Fiberglass batts can be added over the top of loose fill, fiberglass or foam, and should be added in perpendicular layers to existing batt insulation. Loose-fill insulation can be added to existing loose insulation; or if there’s no insulation, spray foam, fiberglass or loose fill can be used. Be sure to leave the eaves open for proper roof ventilation, and use baffles between the rafters where the roof meets the wall to promote airflow. If your attic has three to four inches of existing insulation, it’s recommended to add R-25 to R-38 for the best results.

To learn more about the importance of proper attic insulation, contact our team at Conditioned Air. Our service area includes Bradenton, Naples, Ft. Myers and Sarasota.

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Between the high temperatures and excessive humidity of the Southwest Florida region, peak cooling season can be difficult on air conditioning equipment, leading to inefficient cooling performance or major system malfunctions. With a bit of simple air conditioner maintenance, you can keep your home comfortable, protect your system, and keep your energy costs under control throughout the summer.

air conditioner maintenanceHave Your System Professionally Inspected

Before the peak cooling season starts, it’s good practice to have your system inspected by a professional HVAC technician who will perform routine maintenance like checking the refrigerant levels, cleaning the coils, and replacing the air filter. This will ensure that your system runs as efficiently as possible, in addition to helping prevent problems when the system is operating at full capacity later in the summer.

Change the Air Filter Often

A dirty or restrictive air filter can increase your cooling costs, harm your indoor air quality and cause major system problems. During the cooling season, you should check it at least once a month and replace it when required, or at least every two or three months.

Keep the Outdoor Unit Free of Debris

To operate efficiently, the condenser coil of your air conditioner needs plenty of airflow to dissipate the heat from your home. Keep at least a 2-foot area around the outdoor assembly clear of all debris, including furniture, toys and tall plants. If leaves, grass or other debris accumulate in the coils or system fan, turn off the power and remove the large debris by hand; then rinse the coils with a garden hose to remove smaller debris.

Reduce the Cooling Load

Adding extra heat to your home or the air conditioning system can reduce its cooling performance and increase your cooling costs. Keep the outdoor unit shaded during peak cooling season if possible, and use blinds or shades inside your home to prevent solar gain. Avoid heat-generating activities like cooking, washing clothes or bathing during the afternoon.

For more air conditioner maintenance tips, talk to our cooling experts at Conditioned Air, serving the communities of Southwest Florida, including Naples and Sarasota.

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Modern air conditioning systems are relatively quiet, and though some noise is to be expected, any sounds that are new, unusual or that have become louder should be investigated to prevent expensive damage to your system. Three of the most common sources of abnormal sounds include the fan belt, the electrical system, and the compressor, and they should be thoroughly inspected if your air conditioner is noisy or suddenly louder than normal.

Air Conditioner Is NoisyBlower Fan Belt

Inside the air handler, especially in a commercial application, a belt connects the blower motor to a squirrel-cage fan, which is used to move air through ducts of your home. Over time, the belt can stretch or begin to crack, and the pulleys on the motor and the fan can lose lubrication or become misaligned. A stretched belt can cause screeching sounds as it slips, and a cracked belt can start thumping as pieces break away. Pulleys that are starved of lubrication or misaligned can begin to whine or screech, as can the blower motor if it’s not properly lubricated. Have the belt adjusted or replaced, if necessary, and check the pulleys and blower motor for proper lubrication and alignment. Failing bearings can also cause this type of noise.

Electrical System

Faulty electrical contacts, relays, and capacitors can cause many strange noises in a system, including clicking as relays or contacts fail to engage properly or buzzing as the start capacitor fails to start the compressor properly. Have the electrical system inspected, cleaning any dirty contacts and replacing burned or faulty components.

Compressor

Problems with the compressor can cause screeching, whining, thumping, buzzing or hissing noises. If it’s hissing, there’s likely a refrigerant leak; and if it’s buzzing, the start capacitor may have failed. Screeching, whining, thumping or other noises may indicate serious problems with the compressor, such as damaged pistons or scrolls, lubrication failure or worn brushes. Have the compressor inspected immediately to avoid unnecessary damage.

If your air conditioner is noisy, talk to our HVAC experts at Conditioned Air today to determine the cause of the problem. We serve the Southwest Florida area, including the communities of Naples and Sarasota.